Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Department of English
G.G. Weix, Robert Baker
clothing, Egar Allen Poe and the Juke-Box, Elizabeth Bishop, gender, lesbian, modesty, reticence, sexuality
University of Montana
The publication of "Edgar Allen Poe & the Juke-Box" modifies Elizabeth Bishop’s established oeuvre in ways that demonstrate the anxiety throughout her work regarding the concealment of sexual difference—a concealment she often takes part in. As the poems reveal, by putting emphasis on particular kinds of clothing, Bishop emphasizes the necessary—but flawed—methods for that concealment. Black stockings, gloves, sailors hats, and other garments of traditional gender representation work as useful metaphors, symbolically engaging the construction of the literary image accepted in the academy which has produced the unified notion of “Bishopness” some critics still wish to uphold. When themes of gender and sexuality are most at crisis, articles of clothing such as stockings become important signs of what Bishop deemed necessary to put on—both figuratively and literally—in order to uphold the “style” and “poise” she continues to be celebrated for.
Slaughter, Lauren Goodwin, "Bishopness" (2007). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 152.
© Copyright 2007 Lauren Goodwin Slaughter